Japan current account surplus lowest since 1985

Japan's current account surplus last year shrank to its lowest in almost three decades, data showed on Friday, as exports to China and Europe slumped in a worrying sign for the world's third-largest economy.

The finance ministry said the current account, the broadest measure of Japan's trade with the rest of the world, came in at 4.7 trillion yen ($50 billion) in 2012, the smallest annual surplus since comparable data was made available in 1985.

The current account measures not only international trade in goods but also services, tourism and Japan's foreign investments abroad.

The news was also poor for December, with the country logging a monthly deficit of 264.1 billion yen, reversing a year-earlier surplus of 265.7 billion yen.

That was the first deficit for the month of December since 1985 and the second straight month in negative territory.

The figures come after Japan last month said it logged a record trade deficit for 2012, the second consecutive annual trade shortfall.

The data are likely to heap renewed pressure on Japan's new government to fulfill an election pledge to reinvigorate the limp economy.

The European Union's financial troubles hit demand for Japan-brand imports, while shipments to major trade partner China slumped due to a Tokyo-Beijing territorial spat, which sparked a consumer boycott of Japanese goods.

Tokyo's energy bills, meanwhile, have shot up as it turned to pricey fossil-fuel alternatives after switching off its nuclear reactors following the atomic crisis at Fukushima in 2011, with expenses set to grow as the yen weakens.

"While the yen's recent weakening will help exports to recover somewhat, the same yen weakness will push up costs for imported goods and materials," Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute, told Dow Jones Newswires.

"That means any current account surplus will never return to the level where it once was."

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lenten procession more than just a spectacle VERA Files - The Inbox

    Text and photos by Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena, VERA Files Baliuag, Bulacan--This town is hosting what could be the country’s biggest Lenten procession consisting of more than 100 religious statues riding on carriages or carrozas. But concerns are being raised that … Continue reading → …

  • Holy Week in Mt Banahaw: Mysticism meets Catholicism VERA Files - The Inbox

    Text and photos by Patricia Isabel Gloria, VERA Files Dolores, Quezon—Around this time each year, hundreds of devotees flock to Barangay Sta. Lucia in Dolores, Quezon on the slopes of Mount Banahaw to celebrate Holy Week. Here, mysticism meets Catholicism, … Continue reading → …

  • Simbang lakad for Lolo Uweng VERA Files - The Inbox
    Simbang lakad for Lolo Uweng

    By April Anne Benjamin, VERA Files San Pedro, Laguna--For 14 Maundy Thursdays now, Inding Amoranto has prayed the rosary while walking the eight-kilometer distance from her house to the Shrine of Jesus in the Holy Sepulcher in the village of … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options